Premises Liability

Premises Liability Attorneys in York, PA

Representation for Pennsylvanians injured on dangerous property

After several days of snow, the sun has finally come out. As you make your way to the local shopping mall, a surge of snow and ice melted by the warming temperatures slides off a roof or awning and hits you. You could suffer a back or shoulder injury, lacerations to your face, or worse.

Or, you might be doing some canvassing for a political candidate you support, or raising funds for a local community activity. You start up the sidewalk of a house when suddenly a dog rushes from the backyard and bites you, causing serious injury. There was no sign warning of a dog or that you needed to be cautious. These are both examples of what the law calls “premises liability.”

A case involving premises liability can be quite complex. If you ever find yourself involved in this type of dispute, you will need to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as you can. KBG Injury Law attorneys have a great deal of experience with these types of injury case cases. We can protect your right to compensation and ensure your medical expenses and lost wages are paid. Let us get the work done while you focus on healing from your injuries.

What is premises liability law?

Premises liability is a legal concept used in personal injury cases when the injured party can prove they suffered an accident and injury because of an unsafe situation or dangerous condition on another person’s property. Liability is determined by the laws and procedures of the place where an injury occurred and is different from state to state.

  • In some states, courts focus on the condition of the injured party in determining who is liable.
  • Other states look more at the condition of the property where the injury occurred, and what the owner and visitor were doing when the injury occurred.
  • The definition of the property owner is also important. It means the person who was occupying the property in question. Therefore, if an accident occurs to a visitor in a rented apartment, the tenant is likely responsible, not the landlord.

The reason responsibility resides with the tenant, rather than the landlord, is that once the landlord has rented the apartment or building space, the renter is then responsible for any physical injury a visitor suffers. Courts generally look at the situation this way because once the landlord has rented the apartment, they basically no longer have control over the premises. However, it is important to note there can be exceptions to this rule, which is why it is important to consult with an attorney before making any decisions.

What are the categories of visitors in premises liability?

Someone who is visiting another property can fall into one of three categories: invitees, licensees, or trespassers. The category into which you fall as an injured visitor will have an effect on your York premises liability claim. Let’s take a closer look at each of these three categories.

An invitee is someone who has the property owner’s direct or implied approval to enter their property — for example, when you are invited to someone’s home for dinner. Or, more commonly, when you shop at a store, visit a museum or movie theater, you are an invitee. Property owners owe invitees the highest duty of care.

A licensee also has the property owner’s direct or implied approval to enter, but are coming to the property for purposes other than just visiting. Tradespeople of all kind fall into this category: electricians, plumbers, carpenters, and delivery people. The level of duty of care with this category is not as high as with the invitee category, but owners must still warn them about known or potential hazardous conditions.

A trespasser is just what it sounds like: someone who does not have permission to be on the property. Normally, property owners owe no duty of care to any trespasser, with one exception: children. For example, as you undoubtedly know from media reports, there have been many tragic incidents of children wandering onto ungated properties with swimming pools and falling in.

Hazards like swimming pools, discarded appliances, backyard ponds, and old cars that can attract the interest of children are called attractive nuisances, and owners have a responsibility to keep them secured.

What does “duty of care” mean?

Much of any case involving a potential example of premises liability revolves around the notion of “duty of care.” At its core, duty of care means a property owner is required to act prudently toward the public with the attention and caution a reasonable person would exercise in any situation. If those actions fail to meet this standard, a resulting injury may be considered negligence.

One common example is a store owner neglecting to remove or cordon off a buildup of ice and snow in front of their shop, assuming the sun will melt it before any shoppers arrive. However, a shopper heading into the store slips and breaks their leg on the ice. The store owner may likely be held negligent, knowing that the ice and snow was a hazardous condition and ignored it, therefore failing in their duty of care to the customer.

Several important factors play a role in determining a property owner’s duty of care responsibilities and whether or not they are accountable for premises liability action.

  • What were the circumstances facing the visitor when they visited the property?
  • What is the property used for?
  • Could the visitor have foreseen the possibility of an accident or an injury occurring?
  • How hard did the property owner try to fix any dangerous situation or warn visitors to any problem?

The attorneys at KBG Injury Law can investigate the circumstances of your accident and determine if it was preventable. Then we will hold the right parties accountable for your injuries, working to secure damages for your premises liability case.

How do I prove a York, PA property owner was negligent?

As mentioned earlier, premises liability law differs from state to state, and we will look at how it applies particularly in Pennsylvania below. However, if you or a loved one experienced injury in an accident, and you think the property owner is at fault, you should contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

For a successful premises liability claim, your attorney will work to show the following:

  • The person responsible for your injury owned or occupied the place where it occurred.
  • This person did not meet their duty of care responsibilities in the use of the property, which means they were negligent.
  • You were injured on this person’s property.
  • Their negligence played a substantial role in you suffering an injury.

One of the most important parts of being able to prove this negligence is what is called “foreseeability.” This determines if the property owner could have possibly foreseen any situation or condition that could cause an injury on his or her property. Foreseeability can limit the liability in some cases, but not all.

It’s also important to mention the “eggshell-skull rule” here. In many cases, a person who suffers a minor injury as a result of a property owner’s negligence would result in only a few thousand dollars’ worth of damages. But if the person suffering the injury has an underlying condition that is worsened by the act of negligence and needs extensive medical care as a result, the property owner remains liable for the entire amount.

Your KBG Injury Law attorney also gathers all evidence needed to prove fault in your premises liability case.

What is the statute of limitations for a premises liability lawsuit?

If an individual is injured on someone else’s property and they wish to file a premises liability lawsuit, they must do it within two years of the date they were injured. If they wait longer than two years, it is very likely that the lawsuit will be dismissed.

However, there are exceptions to this two-year time limit. Some of them concern what is known as “tolling.” When the injury victim is a minor, the statute of limitations on bringing a lawsuit extends until age twenty. Contact our law offices if you have any questions about your potential case.

Is there a premises liability attorney near me?

The offices of KBG Injury Law are located at 110 North George Street, right in the heart of York. Our building is right off Interstate 83 and Routes 30, 74 and 462.

Talk to an experienced York, PA premises liability lawyer today

Contact the experienced attorneys at KBG Injury Law for the best possible chance of holding property owners accountable for the negligence that led to your injury. Our legal team knows how to gather evidence, interview witnesses, and build a strong case on your behalf. We can help. Call us at 717-848-3838 or toll free at 800.509.1011 or fill out our contact form. KBG Injury Law maintains offices in York, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Hanover, and Gettysburg, and serves individuals and families throughout South Central Pennsylvania.